Entitled the ‘Islamic Declaration on Climate Change’, the document draws parallels between passages from the Qur’an and the potential threat of climate change. It calls on all countries to adopt such goals as ‘Aim to phase out greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible’ and ‘Commit themselves to 100 per cent renewable energy’.
‘To have a specifically Islamic expression of this issue is very significant,’ said Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University. ‘The question is who’s going to listen to it? I do not think that Islamic governments will change their actual policies. But I hope that it will be a catalyst for more thinking concerning the environmental crisis in the Islamic world.’
With organisations such as the World Bank labelling Islamic hotspots such as the Middle East and North Africa ‘particularly vulnerable to climate change’, such a public declaration of support for climate talks could be a significant intervention in establishing a global agreement. However, Nasr, a leading figure in the Islamic environmental movement, insists it is not a game-changer by itself: ‘Right now there’s a flurry of interest. But the question is whether it will die down. I hope that it will continue and have the desired effect.’
This article was published in the October 2015 edition of Geographical Magazine